Tuesday 31 August 2010


Industry stats have revealed that LPG is increasing in popularity in the forklift market place.

For the second consecutive month, LPG has outsold diesel and in June 2010(1), sales of LPG fuelled counterbalance forklift trucks took a massive 188 per cent increase over the previous month’s sales(2). BITA figures also show that monthly LPG sales have increased year on year since May(3).

The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) retail delivery statistics are announced monthly, providing an overview of the UK forklift truck market and the number of products sold, breaking down market share by fuel type. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered forklift trucks now account for 30.2 per cent of all counterbalance forklift trucks sold in 2010(1).

Calor’s forklift truck specialist, Jim Moyes, says the figures come as no surprise as more and more operators realise the benefits of LPG. He explains: “The benefits of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the forklift market have been widely recognised over recent years with all of the major equipment manufacturers now offering LPG models in their product ranges.

“LPG avoids the lengthy charging periods associated with electric trucks and, as a cleaner burning fuel than diesel, LPG results in less potential for oil contamination and reduced overall engine wear(4). What’s more, lower carbon emissions from engines mean that they can be used inside in sensitive environments as well as outside on more difficult terrains(5).

Highlighting the advantages of choosing Calor, the UK’s leading LPG supplier, Jim says: “We work closely with customers to identify their individual needs and offer a fuel solution totally tailored to their operation.

“LPG supply goes far beyond merely the supply of gas or the fuel price. Discussions with an LPG expert with the right technical capability can ensure a hassle free conversion to LPG as well as providing a package of ongoing technical support, safety assurance and training.”

Forklift truck specialists from Calor will be available on the company’s stand at IMHX later this year to explain face-to-face the benefits of running an LPG powered forklift truck fleet, as well as the unique advances Calor is making in the forklift market including; larger capacity fixed fuel tanks that can reduce downtime, Magnatract™ cylinder technology that eliminates the risk interruptions in your fuel supply and safety test ‘date stamps’ that are placed on every single Calor forklift cylinder.

Calor also offers certified on or off site customer training to ensure staff can enjoy the benefits of LPG safely.

A registration process has been set up to enable people to pre-organise a meeting with a Calor representative before the show. To reserve some time with a Calor representative at the show, please email askcalor@calor.co.uk with IMHX in the subject.

For more information on Calor’s supply solutions, visit www.calor.co.uk/forklifts or call 0800 121 7841.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors
(1) COntact kathy@connect-group.com with 'LPG Share Rise' in the subject heading to receive details of 2010 retail deliveries broken down by fuel type.

(2) All stats are provided by BITA in its Retail Deliveries for 2010 report. LPG retail deliveries in May stood at 182 and in June increased to 342.

(3) 2010 total retail delivery figures for LPG: May = 182 (up 5% on 2009), June 342 (up 67% on 2009) and July 240 (up 5% on 2009).

(4) LPG continues to be acknowledged as an environmentally friendly and versatile fuel alternative without compromising performance achieving a 95 per cent reduction in NOx emissions compared to diesel. LPG powered FLTs produce, 2,000 per cent less NOx, 2 per cent less carbon dioxide and up to 120 times less small particle (PM10) emissions than diesel powered fleets. Small particle emissions are related to health effects including increased risk of heart and lung disease and problems such as asthma. All figures taken from the European Emission Test Programme (EETP) 2003.

(5) Contact kathy@connect-group.com with 'LPG Share Rise' in the subject heading to receive a breakdown of 'How Calor Outperforms Other Fuels'

Friday 27 August 2010

Higgs helps Phoenix rise

Leading regional law firm Higgs & Sons has advised a new start up business in Willenhall.

Phoenix Cutting Services, which is a service provider to the UK packaging industry, was advised by Richard Griffiths, a solicitor in Higgs’ corporate department.

Speaking of his work with Phoenix, Richard said: “It’s essential for new businesses to seek proper legal advice from the outset. Early consideration of potential issues and having well drafted agreements in place will provide security and will almost certainly save time and expense later.”

Scott Hilton, a director and shareholder of Phoenix said that Higgs’ advice and guidance had proved invaluable: “Richard supported us across the whole start up including helping with the lease of our premises, advising us on banking arrangements and guiding us on our business structure and shareholdings.

“One important part of Richard’s work was our shareholder agreement document, which provides a clear decision making procedure and an agreed means of resolution should there be a dispute. This should significantly reduce the possibility of a serious fall out which can obviously happen in business!”

Richard said: “For anyone starting a new business, there are many things to consider, from employment contracts to terms and conditions of business and protecting intellectual property.

“We appreciate that money may initially be tight for start up businesses, however we always look to agree fixed costs for any necessary legal work, enabling business owners to budget more effectively.”

If you are considering setting up a new business and wish to discuss the potential legal issues contact Richard Griffiths directly on 0845 111 5050 to arrange a free initial consultation.


As the boss jets off to the sunshine state and our resident blogger soaks up some seaside fun, the powers that be have asked me to muse over this week’s events at Connect PR.

We’ve made sure that the wet weather hasn’t dampened our spirits by battling through to deliver some great news in both our professional and personal lives.

Richard kicked off the week by shaking off an arm injury to step-up to the office oche. The ‘master’ threw some fine WD-40 arrows, but still lacked the accuracy to topple ‘lethal weapon’ who continues to score heavy and finish like a tungsten pro. It wasn’t all bad news for the office joker though, as his love for nature flourished by nurturing and releasing an uninvited giant moth and stag beetle from the building.

The thought of basking in the Tenerife sun couldn’t keep Becki from sourcing a great venue to host HiQ’s Hero award ceremony. The Custard Factory, located in Digbeth, will welcome heroes from across the UK in November as Sally Gunnell crowns an overall hero and rewards them with £5,000 to spend on a local community project.

Lizzie continues to hit the back of the net with some colourful campaigns for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and thanks to her best friend will be whisked away to meet Ewan McGregor next week having won an Empire Film competition on twitter.

Meanwhile, Kathy continued to work her magic on a new business pitch and Zoe received hundreds of 3-IN-ONE ponchos and air fresheners to keep fans of the drip oil dry and smelling great. Sue also cracked the wonders of survey monkey to find out heavenly and hellish family driving experiences. So if you have some time over the bank holiday weekend, let us know your family driving habits by taking a few moments to complete the following survey http://ht.ly/2v5pt.

Until next time ...

Thursday 26 August 2010


A man is celebrating after scooping a £100 worth of vouchers at Somerford Horse Trials.

Iestyn Lewis (30) from Congleton won the tack vouchers, after entering the competition at Crewe Volkswagen’s stand at the annual equestrian event.

The three-day event attracted over 600 competitors and over 2,000 spectators from the region, with significant funds raised for the North West Air Ambulance (NWAA).

Somerford Park’s co-owner, Simon King, said: “The horse trials were a complete success and we have raised a healthy amount of money for the NWAA, which will help keep the helicopter operational.”

Competition winner Iestyn, said: “I can’t believe I’ve won. I’ll be spending the vouchers on some new riding gear and look forward to trying it out.”

Crewe Volkswagen’s brand manager, Ken Potter said: “The horse trials were a great day out and we’re delighted with the huge amount raised for the NWAA.

“As a business it’s important we support local events like the horse trials. Congratulations to Iestyn for winning the vouchers.”

Wednesday 25 August 2010


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is set to receive a boost to its fundraising efforts thanks to global tyre giant Goodyear.

Throughout September any motorist purchasing a set of four OptiGrip tyres will see £10 go to the lifesaving charity. For every individual tyre sold a £2.50 payment will be made. The money raised will go towards the RNLI Beach Safety Programme, of which Goodyear is the main sponsor.

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear’s brand manager, said: “As experts in safety and innovation, we are committed to supporting lifesaving organisations to help maintain their already high standards, and the RNLI is of no exception.

“For over three years, we have been championing the work of the charity by contributing over £130,000. Our focus has always been on safety through innovation and the OptiGrip tyre certainly exemplifies this statement.”

Becky Higgin, RNLI corporate partnership manager, added: “The donation made through the sale of OptiGrip tyres will go towards the RNLI Beach Safety Programme – providing important beach safety advice to help keep people safe at the seaside. We thank Goodyear for this initiative and look forward to extending our relationship with them.”

The OptiGrip tyre, with Smartwear Technology, reveals new tread as it wears to ensure high levels of performance are delivered throughout its life. Even after 18,000 miles, it gives a 20%, or 11 metres, shorter braking distance in the wet than other leading tyres.

For more information on Goodyear and its safety partnership with the RNLI, visit www.goodyear.co.uk.


News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email lee@connect-group.com

Tuesday 24 August 2010

HiQ Academy delivers investment in 500 people

The HiQ fast fit network has bucked an industry trend in emphatic fashion, as over 500 bespoke training courses have been booked in the first half of the year alone.

The HiQ Training Academy is reinforcing its support for its franchisees and their staff, while reversing the results of a recent fast fit industry report, which observed a 12 per cent decrease in industry training over the past two years.

HiQ’s Academy provides a personal development plan for each employee, supporting them to develop their skills in technical competencies and customer facing skills.

The training programme is further evidence of the support provided through HiQ’s partnership-led franchise model and also operates independently as a separate NVQ training programme for tyre technicians.

HiQ Operations Manager, Farrell Dolan said: “We have never had so many business owners and technicians signed up for our Academy. We are delighted to be bucking a national industry trend.”

“The implementation of our franchise model has been supported with a detailed infrastructure that supports growth and rewards performance”.

“Our Academy is just one example of the continued support that we provide, and we are delighted that it is performing so well and meeting the needs of our franchisees.

Petra Peers , HiQ Academy Co-ordinator stated “The Academy supports the HiQ vision of delivering an exceptional customer experience. It is a unique undertaking within the industry and sets HiQ apart as a leading provider of bespoke, dedicated training and a true investor in its people.”

The Academy delivers over 40 bespoke training courses covering business & Personnel development, Technical, Systems, NVQ Qualifications and Health and Safety legislations.

Petra continued “At HiQ we are passionate about training. We believe that it is what makes the difference in delivering the best customer experience in the fast fit industry.”

Optimo Care Group acquire WarrenCare Ltd

Leading West Midlands law firm Higgs & Sons, has assisted Optimo Care Group to acquire the entire issued share capital of WarrenCare Ltd, the largest provider of homecare and support services in Sefton, Merseyside.

WarrenCare Ltd is a long established homecare provider in the North West, delivering services to around 500 people and employing over 200 highly trained care staff to deliver a wide range of services across a number of locations including Maghull, Formby, Crosby and Sefton.

WarrenCare provides service care for older people, children and families, people with learning disabilities and supported living.

The strategic acquisition firmly establishes Optimo Care Group as a provider of high quality care services in the North West.

Commenting on the acquisition, Richard Walker, Chief Executive of Optimo Care Group said: “This is a great service and we are thrilled that the founders felt we were the right people to take the business forward. The whole team at WarrenCare is passionate about delivering high quality care as are we. As a business we are expected to provide the highest standard of professionalism, service and customer care and we expect the same from our advisers. Higgs & Sons continues to exceed our expectations in these areas. The legal assistance given by partner Nick Taylor and the team at Higgs & Sons was second to none and we look forward to working with them again as we deliver our plans for expansion and further acquisition."

Nick Taylor, head of Higgs & Sons’ corporate department said: “: “Having specialist expertise and experience in the healthcare and domiciliary care sectors meant we could offer specific advice and a tailored but efficient service to Optimo. It was a pleasure working with Richard and we look forward to helping him and his team grow the business in the near future.”

Friday 20 August 2010


Liskeard tyre retailer is sponsoring the villages Young Farmers’ Club as they complete a charity trek to raise funds for local lifesaving charities.

This weekend, Geoffrey Harris Tyres on Station Road are backing the 30-strong team as they embark on the Smugglers’ Way walk in support of the Looe RNLI Lifeboat Appeal and the Breast Cancer Primrose Ward at Derriford Hospital.

To help the team further, Geoffrey Harris Tyres has enlisted the help of tyre manufacture Goodyear, who have kindly donated caps and polo shirt to wear throughout the walk.

The 36 mile walk will see the walkers start their journey from the north side of Cornwall at Boscastle and finish at the south side in Looe.

Joanne Harris, secretary at Geoffrey Harris Tyres and an advisory member of the Young Farmers Club, said: “Both charities are exceptionally close to the hearts of our community and our club members. The RNLI saves lives on a daily basis and the Primrose Foundation Ward helped a supporter of the Young Farmers’ Club overcome breast cancer. It’s an honour to support a group that provides so much support to the community.”

Goodyear’s PR support manager, Kate Rock, added: “We are pleased we could support Geoffrey Harris Tyres and the Young Farmers Club. It’s important we support local fundraising efforts and life saving organisations such as the RNLI, who Goodyear currently partners to promote the importance of beach safety.”

For further information visit www.goodyear.co.uk.


As another working week draws to a close and everyone looks forward to another typical wet August weekend, we (as in the Royal we), reflect on the weekly stories behind the Connect PR headlines.

Thanks to Sue’s brush with The Queen last week we’ve all been practising our bows and curtsying, albeit with limited success.

Despite the gloomy weather the team has brightened up the lives of people and businesses across the UK.

As the team ventured far and wide for clients, Lee launched a search for images from young explorers to populate a charity calendar for Goodyear’s safety partnership with Mountain Rescue England and Wales.

The twelve chosen pictures will win an explorers pack featuring a pair of binoculars, mini first aid kit, compass and torch as well as a copy of the 2011 calendar. One overall winner will win a family (two adults) National Trust annual membership package.

Meanwhile Ben announced he was looking for Johnstone’s Paint Trophy’s best dribblers, which prompted Connect PR’s resident football pundit, Zoe, to throw forward a number of League One and Two players for the award.

The misunderstanding was soon cleared up as Ben explained it was second annual ‘Trophy Tot’ award in a bid to find the cutest young fan in this season’s competition.
Following the hugely successful launch of the 2009 award, Johnstone’s are replaying the initiative and it has already been featured on football websites across the land.

Becki's been working wonders with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, organising lots of regional competitions and flooding the country with coverage.

So read your regional and local press for details on how to win VIP tickets to a race track near you.

Finally, just so everyone can be prepared, with Christmas just around the corner (127 days to go!) Lizzie has presented Uniball with the perfect gift. Creator of cute things, Carrie Lewis, has agreed to produce some festive items to support their Christmas promotion.

Carrie will be using POSCA marker pens and the Signo range to design greetings cards, crackers, baubles and table settings.

Look out for the range in stores near you soon!

Have a good weekend, if you can stay dry. I'm off to water my garden now the hosepipe ban has been lifted...


A service team from Ashford (Kent) has been named as the best in the UK, after achieving record levels of customer satisfaction.

The team at JCB Volkswagen Van Centre came top of the UK network in quarter two 2010 and is leading the way to be named the top for 2010.

Positive feedback from customers and excellent customer loyalty figures ensured JCB secured this award, despite the van centre only opening in 2009.

JCB Ashford’s head of business, Tony DeVoil, said: “To have one of the best service teams in the UK is testament to the dedication and work ethic of service manager, Peter Hare, and his team.

“They all work hard to make sure every customer is given accurate information before, during and after their van is in the workshop.

“Peter and his team thoroughly deserve this acknowledgment as they strive to deliver total customer satisfaction. The next target is to secure the overall award for 2010.”

Volkswagen monitors the UK’s 63 van centres, ensuring all areas of each business are performing according to Volkswagen standards and targets. The scores on areas including sales and customer satisfaction are then added up to reveal quarterly and annual results.

Fast fit business figures shine bright for broadway

One of HiQ’s largest franchisees is celebrating a double success story, after acquiring their 11th fast fit centre and unveiling impressive half yearly profit figures.

Broadway Tyres, which owns a number of fast fit outlets in and around the outskirts of London, has added HiQ Grays to its portfolio.

In addition, Broadway is boasting overall increased retail turnover in excess of 20 per cent for the year to date in a show of strength for one of HiQ’s most successful business partners.

Broadway’s operations director Gary Oliver said that the results and expansion news was testament to the hard work that each centre had been putting in.

He said: “We have long believed in a ‘local hero’ approach to trading, where each of our centre managers assume a position of trust and integrity within each community.

“Backed by the national strength of the HiQ brand, we have been able to achieve some success in 2010. However, we must keep striving to maintain and even improve on our results, which is what we will be doing.”

HiQ Grays has been transferred from P & R Tyres and is a centre that Gary believes is in a perfect location to drive customer reach and footfall.

The purpose built store in London Road is fully equipped offering a complete service in tyres, exhausts, brakes, batteries, shocks and MOT testing.

Gary added: “There has always been a strategy in place to expand and Grays presented the right opportunity.

“This latest investment will no doubt have great impact upon the franchise and our establishment in the area.”

Meanwhile, Broadway’s business figures have been replicated by the HiQ network as a whole.

Year-on-year turnover has risen by 7.4 per cent, while gross profit increased by a double digit figure for the same period.

Gross profit for tyre sales alone increased to 5 per cent compared to 2009, while footfall to the network’s 145 centres rose by 8 per cent.

HiQ’s retail director Juergen Titz said the impressive performance was testament to the living partnerships between HiQ and their network of franchisees.

He said: “These results continue to prove that our entrepreneurial approach, coupled with a franchise concept, is working well.

“Broadway Tyres are a perfect example of this and we are delighted to see their performance and growth.”


Set in 1,000 acres, Weston Park is a woodland fantasy, adventure playground and stately home all rolled into one offering families endless entertainment for the Bank holiday weekend.

Children are free to go wild in the Woodland Adventure Playground, explore the countless woodland walks by foot or by bike and discover the medieval Deer Park and Hermits Cave. Just when they are running out of puff along comes the miniature railway which steams towards Temple Wood and into wildlife.

The stately home displays one of the UK’s most impressive art collections. The House tours reveal many historical and fascinating tales, such as who gave Prime Minister Disraeli slippers for Christmas, which Earl witnessed a secret royal marriage and meet the Captain of the Mary Rose who went down with his ship!

Homemade refreshments are available the Stables Coffee Bar with sizzling dishes served up over lunch and dinner in the new Granary Grill Bar and Restaurant. The Grill’s new holiday lunch menu offers a mouth-watering selection of dishes, to capture the essence of summer eating.

The Granary Building offers visitors a farm shop, supplied by local producers plus a selection of Weston Park’s homemade delights prepared by its head chef. Its art gallery, located in the buildings eaves, exhibits a series of selling portraits and rare private collections.

The Park and Gardens are open daily from 10am to 6pm whilst the House is open from 1pm to 5pm and is closed on Saturdays. Admission to the Park and Gardens is £5.00 for adults and £3.00 for children. A family ticket is £20.00 and includes entrance to the House.

Weston Park is open daily through to Sunday 5th September 2010 (excludes 18th – 25th August). The Granary is open daily and is free to enter.

For further information contact Sue Foster at Connect PR on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com

Thursday 19 August 2010

Wolsey volkswagen expand their sales team

Ipswich Volkswagen retailer, Wolsey, has welcomed the appointment of a new sales executive to meet the growing demands of the business.

Leanne Barnes has joined the Sproughton Road site bringing with her over six years of automotive sales experience across a range of high profile manufacturers.

The 27-year old from Ipswich began her career in journalism before transferring her communication skills to the automotive sector. Leanne initially started within the servicing division before swiftly progressing into marketing and sales roles
before accepting her current role at Wolsey.

Leanne said: “It is great to be part of the Wolsey team. There is a great team in place and they have made me feel very welcome.

“I am looking forward to meeting all the customers and to help drive the business forward.”

Brand manager at Wolsey Volkswagen, Tim Hargraves said: “Leanne has a great deal of communication and sales experience that we believe will continue to strengthen our existing team to ensure we continually offer the best service and assistance to our customers.”

Wolsey Volkswagen is part of the Marriott Motor Group which includes Northgate Volkswagen in Bury St Edmunds and Barnards Volkswagen in Stowmarket.

Wednesday 18 August 2010


A Volkswagen Van Centre welcomes the appointment of a new head of business to its Swindon village site in Cheltenham.

John Seddon, from Gloucester has accepted the role at Cheltenham Volkswagen Van Centre, bringing with him over 20 years of automotive experience.

The 49 year old began his career as an apprentice in the local engineering industry before moving into the light commercial vehicle sector in 1990.

John, who has held key managerial roles for various well known brands, will be responsible for strengthening the Volkswagen brand and establishing new and maintaining existing relationships with businesses and van drivers in the Gloucestershire area.

The father of Four said: “Cheltenham Volkswagen’s friendly, professional and dedicated work force will make it an enjoyable working environment .

“My challenge is to expand the business and enhance our reputation in the local area and it is one that I’m looking forward to progressing.

“My first task is spending time getting to know all of the staff and existing customers.”

Lawyer says employers could face more tribunals with changes to retirement age

A Black Country employment lawyer is warning businesses that they could face the risk of increased age discrimination claims in the near future.

Nick Vernon of law firm Higgs & Sons, believes that the proposed changes in the law on the default retirement age recently announced will lead to more employment tribunals: The Government has recently published a consultation document setting out its proposals to phase out the current default retirement age of 65 in October 2011.

Nick says “In a statement the Department for Business said they estimated that the changes would lead to a reduction of between 200 and 400 employment tribunals every year. However it’s our belief that the exact opposite may occur because employers in the region will be forced to prove whether or not older employees are capable of continuing in their current role at 65. We believe this will lead to an increase in older employees taking their employers to employment tribunals claiming age discrimination.”

A six-month transition period from the existing regulations begins in April 2011.

Nick continues: “It’s estimated that the Exchequer could gain an extra £79 million in tax revenues in the first year alone once the default age is scrapped.

“The Government has also claimed that the changes will save employers money, but it appears to be underestimating how much businesses will spend in costly tribunals taken by disgruntled workers who are classed as incapable of working in their current role once they pass 65.
"We strongly suggest that employers take legal advice before making any changes to existing employment contracts."To find out how Higgs & Sons' employment team can support your business, contact them directly on 0845 111 5050 or visit www.higgsandsons.co.uk.

Johnstone's Paint Trophy declares: The little dribblers are back!

They’re cute, they’re colourful and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy is proud to declare that the little dribblers are back!

Following the hugely successful launch of its ‘Trophy Tot’ award last year, Johnstones are replaying the initiative in a bid to find the cutest young fan in this season’s competition.

The official 2010/11 Trophy Tot winner will follow in the footsteps of little Millwall fan Harry Eveson, who was crowned the winner in 2009 after beating hundreds of other little dribblers to the award.

The Trophy Tot competition was created to try and find some of the nation’s cutest and youngest football fans, in a light hearted effort to engage with clubs in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy up and down the country.

And due to popular demand, it is back again ahead of the big kick-off!

All fans have to do is email a picture, the name and age of their little son or daughter, complete in club scarf, hat, shirt or any other memorabilia, to teresa.hardwick@ppg.com

Johnstone’s will then shortlist eight of the cutest ‘young stars’ to display on its official website http://www.johnstonespainttrophy.com/ for fans to log on and vote for their favourite!

The eight finalists will all receive a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy mini-football with the overall Trophy Tot winner receiving a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy goodie bag and £50 voucher to spend in the club shop.

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy sponsorship manager Teresa Hardwick said: “We’re excited to be kicking off this season’s activities with the Trophy Tots competition.

“We’re always keen to interact with supporters of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and this proved to be a fun and colourful way of doing so last year so we’re hoping for more of the same!”

Parents or guardians are eligible to enter their own children between the ages of 0 and 4.

For more information on the competition and all the latest news on the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy visit www.johnstonespainttrophy.com.

HiQ aligned with motorists' needs with £30,000 investment

The HiQ network is looking forward to improving motorists’ fuel efficiency and safety, after introducing £30,000 wheel alignment systems to selected forecourts.
HiQ is reporting up to a 40 to 50 per cent increase in wheel alignment work since at each centre that now uses advanced Pro-Align machinery.

Not only is the technology helping to improve motorists’ fuel economy, but it is also spotting defective and dangerous tyres at an early stage, thus reducing the potential of serious accidents.

HiQ’s fast fit manager Stuart Carr said: “Where centres used to complete three or four wheel alignment jobs per week, they are now carrying out five or six per day.

“The machinery has made a huge difference to the network and adds a string to our bow. Quite a lot of the cars that have been checked actually leave the forecourt in a better condition than they would have left the showroom. It is that effective.

“The equipment gives us a real time image of the car’s alignment and the car’s overall geometry.

“Identifying poor wheel alignment can lead to increased fuel consumption which means a big saving in the pocket.”

Pro-Align regional sales manager Greg Thompson said: “HiQ has stolen a march on its competitors with our wheel alignment systems.

“Hitting pot holes, speed humps and paving kerbs can all create mis-alignment. This will result in poor handling and an overall safety concern.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of regular tyre and alignment checks, and this equipment plays a big part.”
For more information about the HiQ fast fit network, click on http://www.hiqonline.co.uk/

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Onslow-Cole in the bubbly again!

Tom Onslow-Cole has caused one of the biggest shocks in HiQ champagne moment history by winning the award from the clutches of rival Jason Plato.

Despite Plato winning two races from the recent Dunlop British Touring Car Championship action at Snetterton, Onslow-Cole’s impressive 6th place finish in race one – from the back of the grid – was deemed worthy of the accolade.

It is the second time this season that Onslow-Cole has won the award following his star turn at Oulton Park earlier in the year.

The Team Aon star said: “To win one award is great, but to win two is just fantastic. I suppose I must be doing something right, even with one or two moans about the car I am in!

“I’d like to thanks everyone who voted, and hope to give them some more moments to cheer in the coming rounds.”

Teresa Jones of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, voted for Tom and will present him with his bottle of champagne at this weekend’s round of racing at Silverstone.

She said: “HiQ has made my day! I can’t believe I’ve won and I can’t wait to meet Tom at Silverstone.”

She will also win a bottle of bubbly for herself, a grid walk before one or the races, and a pair of complimentary tickets to a future race.

Tom polled 42 per cent of votes, narrowly beating Jason Plato into second place (37 per cent).

HiQ’s marketing manager Geraldine McGovern said: “Results like this are why we set-up these champagne moments back in 2008. It may not be a first place finish, but a brilliant move or display of driving elsewhere on the track.”

Monday 16 August 2010


Goodyear is giving young explorers the chance to win a special place in a charity calendar by sending in their best outdoor snaps.

The global tyre giant has commissioned the competition to celebrate its safety partnership with Mountain Rescue England and Wales. The calendar will help increase awareness of the lifesaving organisation and raise much needed funds.

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear’s brand manager, said: “Whether you are digging around in the back garden, walking a nature trail or simply exploring your local park, we want to hear of your adventures.

“By pledging our support to Mountain Rescue England and Wales we have further underlined our commitment to safety. By providing the latest innovations to make motoring even safer, we firmly believe that by supporting this life saving service we can find new ways to protect people across the country.”

Competition winners will each receive an explorers pack featuring a pair of binoculars, mini first aid kit, compass and torch as well as a copy of the 2011 calendar. One overall winner will win a family (two adults) National Trust annual membership package.

Entries should be emailed to explorer@connect-group.com no later than Friday 17th September 2010. For further information visit www.goodyear.co.uk or become a fan of Goodyear_uk on facebook.


News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email lee@connect-group.com

Friday 13 August 2010

Connect PR hit the headlines

What do you get when you cross an appearance from Queen Elizabeth II and a man-made beach on one of London’s busiest train stations?

Why a week in the life of Connect PR of course!

To crown a positively spiffing seven days for us all, we persuaded Her Majesty to leave the corgis at the Palace, tell Philip to shove a lasagne in the microwave, and bomb it up the M1 in her Range Rover.

The Queen (or quite possibly a lookalike) was at the Shrewsbury Flower Show for Wrexham and Shropshire, and was a VIP visitor at the train company’s garden party.

When we were given a brief to add a touch of class and a heap of interest around WST’s attempts lure more Shrewsbury folk onto their excellent travel service to London, we immediately dialled Buckingham Palace.

Liz did a splendid job in getting more people interested in Wrexham & Shropshire, which operates direct trains to London from a number of stations including Wrexham, Shrewsbury and Telford.

And all in a beautiful English country garden in the heart of our green and pleasant land eh? A fragrant PR stunt if ever we smelt one!

If Her Majesty had hopped on a train back from Shrewsbury, she could have made her way down to Marylebone Station, where Connect PR was at it again.

Little Busy Lizzie and her cohorts organised for a huge beach to be built at the busy London station, to give passengers a taste of the seaside as the coast was brought to the capital.

This was all in aid of Chiltern Railways this time, and the girls’ footprints in the sand have been good enough to write a press release about.
A temporary beach was set up on the main concourse and free sticks of rock were handed out to commuters and rail passengers - offering a welcome taste of summer.

Chiltern Railways marketing director, Thomas Ableman, said that Marylebone Station was a gateway to the coast for holidaymakers from Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

He added that the beach would remind people of the fun that could be had at the British seaside.
Almost as much fun as we have in the office every day, which is why we can’t wait to get back to our desks again on Monday!!

Have a great weekend

Connect PR


The third annual Kent Golf Day charity event has raised more than £20,000 for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK.

This year’s event was held at the Redlibbets Golf Club in Ash, and was once again sponsored by Maidstone’s Volkswagen retailer Beadles.

During the day 92 people took part in the golf to raise money for the fund founded in memory of ex-England football captain Bobby Moore.

Among the prizes available to golfers who shot a hole-in-one were a brand new Volkswagen Polo, golfing breaks in Spain and the Belfry, and a set of Callaway Diablo Edge Irons.

The event has now raised £75,000 since its inception in 2008 and is hoping to break the £100,000 barrier next year.

Beadles brand manager Keith Dowle and founder of the Kent Golf Day, Andrew Burcher, were delighted with the success of this event.

Andrew said: “Thanks to the support of Beadles and all the golfers who take part in this event, it continues to raise vital funds of the work carried out by the Bobby Moore Fund.

“We’re looking forward to 2011 already and hope to maintain the success. We could not have done it without Keith and his team supporting us.

“The winning team was from Knight Asphalte, another company that has been supportive of the event.”

Keith added: “Unfortunately no one managed to get a hole-in-one on the17th hole to drive away in a new car, but the day was a great success and enjoyed by everyone involved.

“It was a testament to the people of Kent that so many golfers wanted to take part and raise money for such a good cause. We are extremely happy to have supported the event and look forward to sponsoring similar fundraisers.”

The Bobby Moore Fund was set up by the late England hero’s widow Stephanie Moore MBE in conjunction with Cancer Research UK. It was established in 1993 to raise money for research into bowel cancer after Bobby died of the disease earlier that year aged just 51.

The proceeds of the golf day will go towards funding pioneering work into the prevention and treatment of bowel cancer as well as raising public awareness of the causes and symptoms.

Mrs Moore said: “Bobby was never happier than when he was playing on a fine course in good company. A massive thank you to Beadles and everyone for supporting the Bobby Moore Fund and making our work possible.”

Child maintenance debt prevents father selling house

One of the region’s most experienced family lawyers is warning parents that they could be prevented from selling their homes if they have unpaid child maintenance costs.

Steven Jackson, a consultant at Higgs & Sons with over 30 years' experience, said the recent case of a father being prevented, by Order of the High Court, from selling his house because he owes in excess of £78,000 in unpaid child maintenance should be a warning to other parents across the region.

“This is the first reported case of its kind,” says Steven. “The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, formerly the CSA, secured the order to stop the father from dissipating the proceeds of sale.

“The case follows the Commission being given new additional powers to deal with parents who fail to meet their maintenance liabilities by selling or transferring assets including to relatives, friends and new partners.”

Steven says that in this case, a ‘freezing order’ was made after the man placed the house on the open market online and the Commission has indicated that it has similar cases in the pipeline. The Commission now hopes to produce similar orders or reversals of the sales or transfers of property previously made by parents who have unpaid maintenance arrears.

Steven said: “The Commission are determined to send out a strong message that it will seek to close escape routes for parents who are intent on trying to cheat the system. In addition to this, Lump Sum Deduction Orders are also being pursued forcing banks to pay over monies held in accounts of defaulting parents.

“It’s clear that there will be an increased use of such powers and my message to parents who are liable to pay but who may well have genuine reasons for challenging assessments or alleged arrears must be to not allow matters to get to such a point.

“Seek legal advice at an early stage, be proactive and whatever you do, do not bury your head in the sand.”


Somerford Park’s annual equestrian event this weekend (Aug 20th- 22nd) is on course to raise vital funds for the North West Air Ambulance (NWAA) thanks to support from local businesses, including Crewe Volkswagen.

The popular Horse Trials is hoping the sixth annual running of the three-day event will generate vital support for the charity.

An added attraction is the appearance of Olympic gold medallists, Jeanette Brakewell and Andrew Nicholson, who will be competing at this international competition.

Crewe Volkswagen is sponsoring both the novice and intermediate sections of the event and as well as providing money, the Weston Road retailer is running a competition at this year’s event for someone to win a £200 tack voucher at its stand. A second prize of a £100 voucher is also available.

The NWAA covers all major motorway incidents, and areas that have poor and restricted road access, including many areas of Cheshire.

North West Air Ambulance’s CEO, Lynda Brislin, said: “We’re grateful to everyone involved in raising funds to keep the helicopter operational.

“It takes over £4 million a year to maintain the service so every penny counts.”

Somerford Park’s co-owner, Simon King, said: “The air ambulance is a vital service for the north west and we’re pleased to be able to help raise money.

“But we wouldn’t be able to do it without sponsorship and we’re grateful to Crewe Volkswagen for their support.”

Anyone interested in entering the competition to win the tack voucher should visit Crewe Volkswagen’s stand, where they’ll be displaying the new 4x4, Volkswagen Touareg, amongst other vehicles.

The three-day event attracts over 600 competitors from across the region to compete in the variety of level, one day events that combine dressage, show jumping and cross country in the 600 acres of Somerford Park.

Guests and competitors are advised to arrive early on both days as three thousand people are expected over the weekend.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Sinclair Van Centre putts a new sponsorship

A South Wales Van Centre is delighted to announce its support for the Golf Union of Wales (GUW) by providing a tournament support vehicle for its 2010 competitive season.

Sinclair Van Centre has supplied the governing body for amateur golfers with a Volkswagen Transporter for its latest series of championship tournaments, which take place across Wales.

It is the first time the Union has received such a sponsorship. Previously an estate car had been used to transport the vast amount of equipment required for each event, as Liz Edwards, Director of Championships at the GUW explained.

“There is an increasingly large amount of equipment required to set up the Championship office in order to stage a successful event.

“Packing, unpacking and re-packing the likes of scoreboards, clock boards, flags, and tee markers into an estate car was a constant challenge.

“Our partnership with Sinclair Van Centre has made a huge difference. We can now effortlessly transport the equipment plus travel in comfort.”

Jeremy Phillips from Sinclair Van Centre, said: “We are very happy to support the Golf Union of Wales and wish the golfers great success for this season.”

Rail passengers treated to summer scene

Friday 13th may be unlucky for some, but not for commuters travelling through Marylebone Station.

A temporary beach will be set up on the main concourse tomorrow and free sticks of rock will be handed out to commuters and rail passengers offering a welcome taste of summer courtesy of Chiltern Railways.

Anyone visiting the beach will also receive details of how to enter a competition to win a beach goody bag packed with summer essentials.

Chiltern Railways marketing director, Thomas Ableman, says the beach will remind people of the fun that can be had at the British seaside. “Whilst many people have postponed their summer holidays this year, there is still a chance to get away from it all with a day trip to the beach by train.

“Parents with school age children know too well how difficult it can be to keep them entertained all summer. A trip to the seaside is easy and cost effective with Chiltern Railways’ coastal routes to destinations such as Brighton, Whitstable, Margate and Worthing.”

Travelling to the seaside by train can cut out lengthy delays on the motorway, there is no need to book in advance and kids love travelling by train. Tickets to seaside destinations can be purchased from any local Chiltern Railways ticket office or station. What’s more, with Chiltern’s Great GroupSave deal where two adults pay, four people can travel and up to four extra kids can go for just £1 each.

Thomas continues: “In addition to our seaside service, passengers can also take advantage of our new Taxi Bus Service from Aylesbury Vale Parkway to Waddesdon Manor during August. Passengers can buy a ticket to cover the whole journey and take advantage of a 2 FOR 1 offer when visiting Waddesdon Manor Gardens.

Chiltern Railways is currently completing a £250 million upgrade to turn the Chiltern route into a new mainline with journey times being cut by 20% in 2011. This is being achieved with no recourse to taxpayer funds in any form.

Women are the driving force behind barnstaple volkswagen

A Barnstaple car retailer has welcomed the arrival of two new female specialists in response to customer feedback.

Research carried out by Volkswagen found that women influenced 61 per cent of its car purchases which led to the retailers recent appointments.

Sales executives Samantha Crossley, 42, and showroom host Bridget Orrell, 46, both from Barnstaple, join the sales team bringing with them over 30 years of customer servicing experience.

The new female appointments met the changing need of its customers and followed an intensive recruitment drive at the Braunton Road retailer which led to the recent appointments as Brand Manager, Andrew Smale, explained.

Andrew said: “We pride ourselves on our commitment to our customers and we believe it is important to listen to their feedback and implement changes where necessary to ensure that customer expectations are fulfilled.

“Following a successful start to the year we have carefully selected a diverse range of individuals who bring with them a range of experience and abilities to cater for all our customer needs. To continue to strengthen the business going forward we are currently recruiting for further females to join the sales team.”

To apply please visit www.silverstreetautomotive.com/recruitment


A teenager from Romford is celebrating during her six week summer holiday after scooping vouchers worth £250 in a prize draw.
Becky Curtis (16), from Rainham, was the first name drawn out of the hundreds that had entered a prize draw organised by Inchcape Volkswagen.

Becky quickly decided she wanted the £250 worth of vouchers to be split between her favourite stores River Island and Miss Selfridge in Liberty Shopping Centre.

The prize draw was carried out live, on local radio station, Time FM, a thrilled Becky said: “I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call from Time FM telling me I’d won. I was in bed asleep when they called but I came running down once I knew.

“I’m going straight down the shops to spend them straight away.

“I’ve already decided I want to spend them on clothes, so I will treat myself to a new summer wardrobe!

“I can’t thank everyone at Inchcape Romford enough for this prize and hope I win more prizes in the future.”

Inchcape’s brand manager, Richard Taylor, said: “It is always nice to hear about local people winning something, especially a young winner like Becky, who will fully enjoy spending the vouchers on herself.

“I’m sure Becky will love whatever fashionable items she decides to purchase.”

Wednesday 11 August 2010


A Canterbury car retailer is supporting a Miss European hopeful in her bid win the beauty pageant title.

Hayley White from Shepherdswell is one of nine Miss Team England finalists who will go on to represent the UK for the European crown.

EuroCanterbury Volkswagen has helped fund the 18-year-old beauty queen’s quest and supplied a Volkswagen Eos for her recent appearance at the family fun, Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown Carnival parade.

Hayley, who studies Law, Media and English at Astor College, Kent, had to beat a number of other girls in regional heats to become a finalist.

As well as her looks, Hayley will be judged on personality, integrity and confidence at the final held in Belgium in October.

She said: “It’s fantastic to be a finalist and I’m very grateful to EuroCanterbury for all their support

“I’m a little bit nervous as I will be up against the other girls from the UK as well as the other European finalists but it is a challenge I am looking forward to.”

Sales Manager for EuroCanterbury Volkswagen, Chris Evans, said: “We are very happy to support Hayley’s Miss European quest and would like to wish her all the success for the finals.

Monday 9 August 2010


Families from across Neyland who joined Welsh Rugby Union stars at this year’s Sinclair Volkswagen Funday Sunday event, hailed it a huge success.

The family fun-filled day, which attracted over 350 guests, is organised by the Havenbridge Road Volkswagen retailer as a thank you to its loyal customers.

Former Welsh rugby captain, Ieuan Evans plus Osprey and Welsh Rugby International captain, Ryan Jones, entertained the crowds by encouraging them to take part in the Conversion Challenge, sharing their sporting experiences and signing autographs.

The annual event, which is in its sixth year, proved to be a popular choice for families which also saw over 218 drivers get behind the wheels of Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes-Benz vehicle, throughout the day. The winners of the two fastest laps on the giant Scalextric track won corporate hospitality passes for Ffos Las Racecourse plus the Audi R8 supercar and the first appearance in Wales, of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS added to the days entertainment.

A hog roast and summer barbeque supplied by Swansea-based caters kept guests fuelled throughout the day fun.

As a family run business the Sinclair Group prides itself on strong family values and believes its renowned family event will continue to get bigger and better each year, as brand manager, Julian Harrington, explains.

“This is our way of saying thank you to all our customers and as a family-run business it is important that we have something for everyone.

“We were so pleased that Ieuan and Ryan were able to join us and delighted with the feedback from our customers.

“We really enjoy organising this event and look forward to making it even better for next year.” concluded Julian.

For more information contact Sue Foster or Becki Oake on 01902 714 957 / 07850 274 889 or email sue@connect-group.com / becki@connect-group.com


The Midland Game Fair, the premier event for outdoor and country life pursuits, organised by Countryman Fairs has announced the ultimate in rural hospitality as it teams up with its stately home host, Weston Park.

Visitors can experience the Midland Game Fair from the comfort of their very own stately home, as they combine a country house party experience with entry to the show, taking place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th September 2010.

Guests to Weston Park, on the Shropshire / Staffordshire border will be greeted by the stately home’s butler on the Friday evening and enjoy dinner in the brand new Granary Grill, Bar & Restaurant on the estate before returning back to the stately home for post dinner drinks in the Library.

A day of countryside sports and activities follows on Saturday, before returning to the House for a four-course dinner served in the Dining Room which features the cream of the Weston Park art collection. Guests can retire in the Library before heading to one of the individually designed 28 bedrooms.

The Midland Game Fair provides the perfect environment to celebrate all things associated with the British countryside and rural life. It brings together experts from numerous sporting disciplines and major countryside associations, societies and hosts major competitions making it appealing to all ages.

Weston Park prides itself on its traditional homely feel, five star food and service and the Midland Game Fair Weekend Package is the perfect way to relax, enjoy the show and soak up the atmosphere.

The Midland Game Fair Weekend Package costs £550 per couple; this includes VIP parking, two nights’ overnight accommodation with breakfast, a four course dinner on Saturday evening and weekend tickets to the Midland Game Fair. (Price does not include dinner in the Granary Grill on Friday 18th)

For further information or to book please visit: www.weston-park.com or call 01952 852100

For further information contact Sue Foster at Conenct PR on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com


The latest arrival to the Granary Grill’s team at Weston Park is set to get the taste buds racing for diners this summer.

Dan Smith from Wolverhampton has joined the recently opened, bar and restaurant, as the new Junior Sous Chef, working directly under the leadership of Weston Park’s head chef, Guy Day.

The 22 year-olds first task has been creating a selection of new dishes for the menu, reflecting the essence of summer eating incorporating seasonal favourites supported by local producers.

The passionate chef is no stranger to a challenge, inspired by his grandmother’s culinary skills, Dan completed his training at Birmingham College of Food before qualifying in butchery under renowned Codsall butcher, Alan Bennett.

Dan brings over six years of expertise to the Granary Grill having worked in a variety of kitchens across the Midlands before progressing to the Michelin starred, Yorke Arms, restaurant with rooms in Harrogate.

In 2006 Dan was crowned first place at the Young Chef of the Year awards, organised by MARCHE, which recognise excellence in the hospitality and leisure industry across the Midlands.

Speaking of his new role Dan said: “I am thrilled to be part of the Granary Grill team.

“I believe in not over complicating dishes, which fits perfectly with the restaurants ethos for easy eating and locally produced food, simply cooked.

“Guy is an excellent mentor allowing me to express my creativity. I am particularly proud of the Oriental Style Grilled Local Pork Belly with Tiger Prawns and Bok Choi and I am looking forward to feedback from customers.”

The new summer menu offers a light fresh taste for diners and includes grilled sardines, potted prawns in a lemon and herb butter, salmon nicoise salad, fresh strawberry savarin with strawberry soup and summer fruit crumble with lavender ice cream.

Head Chef, Guy Day, added: “We are very pleased with the early success of the Granary Grill and delighted to have Dan on board. His next challenge will be developing signature dishes to further enhance our diners choices and he is already working on the autumn menu.”

The Granary Grill is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and tables can be booked by calling 01952 852 107.

For further information contact Sue Foster at Connect PR on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com


Goodyear is offering young beach-goers the opportunity to hit the surf in style this summer.

The global tyre giant, in partnership with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), is asking children from across the region to design their own bodyboard. The competition is being run to draw attention to the importance of beach safety.

One lucky winner will receive a bodyboard complete with stylish carry bag and four runners-up will win a Goodyear / RNLI goodie bag filled with a cap, t-shirt, sun cream and leash string as well as other summer safety related prizes.

Michelle Fisher, brand manager for Goodyear, said: “This is a great opportunity for one lucky person to be at the forefront of bodyboard fashion this summer.

“As people head to the region’s fantastic beaches we want to equip them with all the safety advice they need to have a great day out. It’s especially important to remind people to make sure their vehicles are in good condition before they embark on a long journey. For example, avoid potentially dangerous situations by checking the pressure and tread depth of your tyres.”

Goodyear has continued its support for the RNLI by becoming the official sponsor of the charity’s Beach Safety Roadshow. Reaching over 15,000 people during a planned summer schedule of events, the RNLI’s mobile beach safety roadshow will look to communicate key messages of safety to beach-goers across the UK. The charity’s key beach safety advice is to always swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags.

To enter the competition, send an email to safety@connect-group.com to request an entry form or download the competition template by becoming a fan of Goodyear_uk on facebook.


Photo caption: Goodyear’s brand manager Michelle Fisher with children from Beechcroft St Pauls Primary School in Weymouth.

News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email lee@connect-group.com

Friday 6 August 2010

Connect PR hit the headlines

According to a random proverb: ‘A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.’

With that in mind, we thought it was about time Connect PR got itself onto Facebook and became friends with as many people as possible – cracks n’ all!

With our tweeting skills now finely honed and received by more than 1,000 followers, we decided to raise our profile on another social networking phenomenon, and we’re already mates with 30 people. What’s more, they didn’t cost us a penny in bribes!

Just pop onto Facebook sometime and search for Connect PR. You’ll soon see we’re good eggs and well worth being pals with.

When we’ve got so many stories to tell on behalf of our clients, it’s a wonder we didn’t get ourselves on there earlier.

And when you consider that Ben ‘likes’ 6 cups of tea a day and Rich is ‘poked’ three times a day to actually get off his backside and make them, we can see a lot of mileage.

Let’s not forget Lizzie’s ‘suggestions’ for Chiltern Railways’ beach party in Marylebone which she is organising. Ooh we’re all excited!

We can also be friends with our client HiQ and their curiously elusive characters Bertie and Beatrice, who have been befriending the motorsport fraternity for ages now.

The pasty pair have been harping on about the network’s half yearly business results, which were so impressive that Sky News were on the phone to us to find out more this week.

Then there’s the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, who are gearing up for the new football season with another epic Connect PR initiative under its arm (or handle?!).

We’re looking for bloggers from every League 1 and 2 club to get in touch and become our roving reporters for the new campaign. With prizes to be won and press seats at 48 grounds, we are bracing ourselves for scores of entries.

Speaking of entries, our three bright young PR executives flew the Connect flag at the PRCA Frontline quiz in Birmingham on Wednesday (see picture).

Becki, Zoe and Lizzie put their grey matter to the test, pitting their wits against fellow PR agencies in the Midlands.

Lets’ hope our counterparts weren’t privy to the girls’ specific answers, seeing Lazio is now in Russia, and Lady Gaga wrote the epic novel 1984.

No, we’re joking of course. They thought Lazio was in Slovenia.

Anyway, we’d better go and sign off for the weekend.

Here come the girls (girls, girls, girls, girls)…with a Collins Dictionary to wrap around my head.

Have a good weekend everyone
Connect PR


Visitors to next week’s Shrewsbury Flower Show could be forgiven for looking twice when they see Wrexham & Shropshire’s extremely important guest.

The train operator is putting on its very own Buckingham Palace garden party-themed stand, along with London’s most famous inhabitant – The Queen.

Wrexham & Shropshire run trains to London every day from the region and to celebrate its connections with London visitors to the stand can meet The Queen and enjoy Welsh Cakes and refreshments.

The Queen, played expertly by Patricia Ford, is celebrated as the best look-a-like of our Monarch in the UK. Resplendent in garden party wear, pearls, hat and handbag, The Queen will be meeting guests from 11am on Friday and Saturday at the show.

Jo Phillips, marketing executive, Wrexham & Shropshire, said: “It’s not every day that people in Shropshire get to meet the Queen! The Shrewsbury Flower Show is renowned for celebrating the very best of the region and The Queen is our treat. Visitors should also keep watching as there are rumoured to be some grenadier guards making an appearance too.”

For further information contact Hazel Crawford Upton at connect PR on 01902 714957 or email hazel@connect-group.com

Thursday 5 August 2010

Spalding business claims customer service accolade

A Spalding business is celebrating after achieving national recognition for its customer service.

The accident and repair body centre, part of Volkswagen retailer Crowsons, received 98 per cent in an annual customer satisfaction survey, commissioned by Volkswagen UK Group.

The approved Volkswagen repair centre on Cresswell Close in Pinchbeck, beat 185 other Volkswagen Accident Repair Centre’s to gain the title.

Volkswagen closely monitors its retailers ensuring that all areas of the business are performing according to its high standards and targets. Scores are collated throughout the year culminating in an annual result.

Crowsons highly experienced team, led by workshop manager, Jonathan Larham and technicians Phil Van-Der-Weyden, Chris Studd and Dave Freemen, collectively bring over 40 years of expertise to the business.

Jordan Crowson, Marketing Manager at Crowsons said: “We are truly delighted to have received this accolade from Volkswagen UK Group Limited.

“It is credit to the team’s consistent hard work that we have achieved this title and it confirms our commitment to meet our customers’ needs, to ensure their vehicles are repaired to the highest possible standard.”

Crowsons Accident Repair Centre has been established in South Lincolnshire since 1987 undertaking all aspects of accident damage, windscreen repairs and replacements, small dents and scratches as well as 4-wheel alignment.

Crowsons offer a personal service to help and guide customers through vehicle repair. Crowsons is proud to be the approved and recognised repairer in the area for Volkswagen Passenger Car and Commercial Vehicles, Audi, Land Rover, Skoda, Mitsubishi and Seat.

For more information about their services call 01775 760930 and for their personal accident management service, visit www.crowson.volkswagen.co.uk or www.crowsons-spalding.co.uk.

Tuesday 3 August 2010


A Haywards Heath car retailer has teamed up with a sixth form college to give students a taste of the real-life business world.

Caffyns Volkswagen has linked up with Haywards Heath Sixth Form College to provide BTEC Business Studies students with an insight into the business operations within the automotive industry.

In addition, Caffyns Volkswagen Haywards Heath has sponsored the college’s enrichment event, E2010, by providing a vehicle for licensed students to develop their driving skills.

Course co-ordinator for business at Haywards Heath Sixth Form College, Selene Edwards, said: “We are delighted to be working with Caffyns and are very grateful for their sponsorship.

“It is thanks to businesses like Caffyns who help provide our students with a valuable insight into real-life business scenarios.”

A total of 16 students from the two-year BTEC National Certificate in Business will visit the Volkswagen car retailer and spend time with key individuals understanding a typical days operations.

Brand manager at Caffyns Volkswagen, Mark Dunn, added: “As a local business we feel it’s important to help support our future generation of workers.

“The partnership with Haywards Heath Sixth Form College enables Caffyns to play an important role in local education and provide school leavers the opportunity to escape the classroom and learn real life skills.”

Nottingham Volkswagen step onto the crease with Chris Read

Nottingham Volkswagen is stepping onto the crease with an England International wicket keeper after securing a new sponsorship agreement.

England and Nottingham player, Chris Read, will swing into action this season after Nottingham Volkswagen confirmed its support for the County’s captain.

For the 2010 season, Nottingham Volkswagen will be sponsoring the sporting stars cricket bat.

Brand manager at Nottingham Volkswagen, Declan Oglesby, said: “It is a huge privilege to sponsor Chris . He is a superb talent and an ideal role model for up-and-coming sporting talent.

“We would like to wish Chris all the best in the County Championships and congratulate him on the successes he has achieved at local and national level.”

Read was named player of the year 2009 for Nottingham County Cricket Club after amassing 1203 Championship runs. Read inherited Nottingham’s captaincy in 2008.

Nottingham County Cricket Club are currently top of the LV= County Championship leader board and have had four successive victories in the Championship so far, a feat not achieved since 1922.

Gordon to flash the champagne after winning HiQ award

Gordon Shedden has already guaranteed himself a bottle of bubbly ahead of the latest round of Dunlop British Touring Car Championship action, after being crowned as HiQ’s Champagne Moment winner.

The popular Scot polled hundreds of votes since his star turn at Croft before the mid-season break, when he secured race wins to put him third in the driver standings.

It is the first time Gordon has won the accolade, after narrowly missing out on several occasions in 2008, and he will now go into this weekend’s action at Snetterton with renewed optimism.

He polled 44 per cent of the vote, beating Andrew Jordan (25 per cent) and Steven Kane (9 per cent).

Gordon admitted his surprise at winning the HiQ Champagne Moment, and thought it was usually kept on ice for rival Jason Plato.

He said: “I don’t normally win awards like this so it is very nice to receive this recognition from so many fans. I get a massive buzz from being behind the wheel and I consider myself as one of the luckiest guys alive to be racing in this series.

“To win the HiQ Champagne Moment just makes things even sweeter and I look forward to getting my hands on the bubbly!”

David Arneil, of Falkirk, was picked at random to present Gordon with his bottle of champagne and will also win a bottle for himself, as well as a grid walk and a pair of complimentary weekend race passes.

HiQ’s marketing manager Geraldine McGovern said: “We thought the champagne moment award would be between Gordon and Andrew, and so it proved.

“The only thing we were surprised at was the fact that Gordon hasn’t won a champagne moment before now. He’s not only a popular driver, but an extremely talented one and we wish him well at Snetterton this weekend.”

Football fans give Johnstone's Paint the ultimate endorsement!

Johnstone’s Paint’s ‘outstanding’ football sponsorship has received the ultimate endorsement, with thousands of fans identifying Johnstone’s as the second most recognisable brand associated with The Football League.

Following an extensive online survey, Johnstone’s boasted a significant uplift in sponsorship awareness across all supporters – with 47 per cent citing the brand as one of The Football League’s official partners compared to 35 per cent in 2008.

And to further underline the strength of the commercial involvement, the figure rose to 58 per cent when League 1 and League 2 clubs were asked.

The Football League Supporters Survey 2010 is a compilation of the views of 36,822 supporters of all 72 Football League clubs. Modern online survey methods were employed to engage fan opinion on a wide range of questions, including sponsorship awareness.

One of key areas the survey sought to measure was the performance being delivered by sponsorship and supporters were asked to identify brands that were associated with The Football League.

In a huge coup for the brand, Johnstone’s Paint made the biggest jump in awareness, with more people associating the name with being an official partner of the Football League.

The Football League survey states: ‘Johnstone’s Paint made the biggest jump in awareness. This is a significant sign that carefully targeted sponsorship can create outstanding returns in terms of brand awareness.’

The 2010 survey took place between December 2009 and January 2010. The information gathered was shared with the clubs who each received a report detailing the views expressed by their own supporters in order to develop a shared best practice culture.

It represents a continuation of the process begun back in 2006 and repeated in 2008, updating the findings of two and four seasons ago, remaining a genuine fan consultation about the current state of the game.

Sponsorship manager Teresa Hardwick said: “This is fantastic news for the Johnstone’s brand and further confirms that our investment in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy sponsorship is continuing to produce outstanding returns in terms of brand awareness.”

Monday 2 August 2010

Volkswagen proud to attend bakewell show

A Volkswagen Van Centre is celebrating its return to Derbyshire's premier agricultural & horticultural show after being absent for fifteen years.

Imperial Commercials Van Centre is delighted to be attending the Bakewell Show this week (August 4th and 5th) and is looking forward to welcoming visitors to its brand new Volkswagen stand.

The Ashbourne Road van centre will display a range Volkswagen lifestyle and commercial vehicles for show goers to closely inspect.

In addition, a team of commercial vehicles specialists will be on hand each day to provide advice and information on the Imperial Commercials range.

Matt Lawrenson, Regional Director of Imperial Commercials said: “We are very proud to be attending the 180th Bakewell Show with our new Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle brand.

“It is a great opportunity to meet people from the surrounding community and continue to build our presence in the area. We hope the event will be a great success.”

HiQ announce half year results

The HiQ fast fit network has pinpointed its partnership led franchise structure as a major factor behind its ongoing success, after revealing its half year business results.

Year-on-year turnover like for like has risen by more than 7 per cent, while gross profit increased by a double digit figure for the same period.

In addition, the network’s 145 centres welcomed more than 8% additional customers.

HiQ’s retail director Juergen Titz said the impressive performance was testament to the living partnerships between HiQ and their network of franchisees.

He said: “The results are a welcome boost for everyone associated with HiQ, and represent a show of strength as we continue to perform very strongly in the market.

“These results continue to prove that our entrepreneurial approach, coupled with a franchise concept, is working well.”

Recent market data shows a flat tyre sell out market compared to 2009, while HiQ has increased its percentage of sales by more than 5 per cent. More of our customers are buying more tyres.

Juergen added: “We are seeing some noteworthy successes in the expansion of the network, and continue to support our business partners in a number of ways to help them achieve their goals.

“These half year business results tell us that we are succeeding in many ways, but we have another 6 months of work ahead and we must retain our focus.”

“We have a spirit and dynamism around everything we do, which is important. We have new partners on board and we will continue to aggressively expand the network in 2010 and beyond.

“Each franchisee must exploit the vast range of support that we have to offer through our create demand programme. Local heroes at each centre, coupled with our strong national retail brand, will make the difference.”